COVID-19: Creative Solutions For Re-opening Of Schools

Several countries around the world have begun sharing plans for the reopening of schools that are looking to happen this fall. However, the majority of these plans are somewhat impractical and complex for working families.

For instance, most schools have schedules in which students attend part-time, and that could involve being in the school buildings for three days a week, or schedules that will require the students to be in the building for just morning, and afternoon. In some cases, it might even vary from week to week.

Not only is that going to be a problem for families, but it could also be a problem for certain districts in the United States as well, seeing as the president recently threatened to withhold all fundings for any school that does not fully open its doors for students.

Some mayors, governors, chancellors, and superintendents are angry as this has put the lives of students, and workers at a huge risk. 

One of the visible impacts for shutting down schools is to protect the children's physical health from contacting Covid-19, but at the same time, young people do not seem to be susceptible to infection.

The CDC reported in early April that people below the age of 18 accounted for only 2% of Coronavirus cases in which age was known regardless of compromising 22% of the population in the U.S. 

The minority also seemed less likely than adults to experience symptoms of Covid-19 or develop a serious case.

While many are in support to have schools shut as long as the virus still lingers, some argue that further delays in reopening the schools will end up hurting children all around the world much more than it would help them. Many claim it could wreak havoc on the mental, physical, and social health of children.

Conversely, advocates for the reopening of schools in the United States advise that the reopening process should not be a hasty one, or that schools should reopen straight back to status quo in September. 

Yet, they do suggest that policymakers should consider more than the virus itself when they decide on the reopening of schools this fall.

However, if they decide to reopen schools, there are ways that schools can fully open its doors by following the guidelines created by the Centre for Disease Control (CDC).

The core of that plan is to provide efficient daytime childcare for those who need it the most, like younger students, at the same time provide a face-to-face option for the older students after school hours.

Here’s how it can work:


Districts should partner with all the universities and colleges in each community. And considering the fact that many of them are going to be remote, and will probably have a modified schedule, there’s going to be plenty of space. 

At most teacher's colleges, for instance, classes typically don’t start until 4:00 PM, now those are spaces that could be used as well.

And regarding universities and colleges, there might be other underutilized spaces like community centres and churches.


They shouldn’t split schedules within schools. The outcome will be disastrous for working families. Rather, they should split schedules, and provide options to the students who need it the most: Small students during the day, and older students after school.

This method will support families that have childcare needs. And for the older students, research continues to show that a late start is better. It'll be good news for everyone.
The schedule could look like this:

High school – Afterschool: students should go to school after day school ends.
Middle school / Elementary – Day School: Students should attend school during the day.
Those with disabilities: Should be given day and evening options.


For high school teachers – Educators should have the option to work after school for traditional face-to-face instruction, combined with social distancing guidelines in place. 

They could also choose the virtual or hybrid model, which will enable them to work mostly during daytime hours. 

Middle School teachers – For these educators, they could choose a traditional daytime schedule alongside physical distancing guidelines in place. 

They could also choose a more flexible virtual or hybrid schedule.

And for the support staffs, there could be more flexibility and choices in options, rather than the usual one-size-fits-all model in the past.


Anywhere with a high number of Covid-19 cases, a considerable percentage of families would prefer their kids to learn from home even when schools reopen. 

A recent national USA Today/Ipsos indicated that over 55% of parents with 12th grade kids are very likely to prefer at-home learning -homeschool or online school- for their kids even if schools reopen this fall.

In New York City, a survey was taken, and 25% of the families surveyed made clear that they prefer their kids learning from home this fall. 

In other to respond to the needs of the parents, all districts should come together and put in place a virtual school option for accommodating family preferences.


In this case, students will have to do some virtual work, and arrive school part-time, combined with face-to-face teacher support for certain work and activities like:

• Tutoring
• Study group or group work
• Extracurricular activities such as theatre, eSports, and music.
• Safe sports such as track, social distance baseball, and tennis.
• office hours
• Clubs

When we rethink on these shifts, spaces, and how the school is done (i.e. hybrid or virtual), we can meet all of our needs. 

Teachers get to have more flexibility in selecting a schedule that works for them. Families get to have child care. Teens get to sleep more than usual. 

Everyone can enjoy safe physical distancing combined with more options for learning effectively.


While the majority of people fear that reopening of schools in the United States would likely catapult the chances of children catching Covid-19, letting them remain home might impact their physical health negatively, in more damaging ways.

And conversely, not all the schools that opened have experienced any outbreak of Covid-19. However, the student’s return to classes has not been without incident

Conversely, several schools in Singapore and Europe have been doing well ever since.

In Denmark, 12 students would form a group and move as a unit, communicating, and interacting with one teacher, nobody else. Similarly, a school in the Netherlands went as far as installing plastic shields around the desk of each student.

The proven success that these schools have had over the past few weeks in reopening their classrooms could very well serve as models for the United States in hopes of reopening its schools this fall.

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